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Old 01-12-2009, 09:37 PM   #1
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Hello. I just joined the forum today. I found it when searching for the answer, on google, for: Is there asbestos in my shower tiles? I have a handyman, maybe not so handy, that was renovating my shower by first getting the old grout out. He used a Dremel with a 1/16" wide blade. My tiles were so close together that he chipped many of them getting the grout out. He wore a mask, but I didn't and wasn't in there much. However, the dust is in the bedroom, some settling on things and, perhaps some of it still in the air. I have read your posts about dangerous asbestos dust and am very worried. The house was built in 1969, so it's 40 years old this year. Do the tiles contain asbestos? I'm sure I should have them tested, per reading on this forum.

We could not keep the shower clean, so that's why we hired this guy: to get the old grout out, regrout it, and seal it. A friend just mentioned to me today that there could be asbestos in those chipped tiles. What should I do now, and what should I do about the dust everywhere, and how should I get this shower finished, at least to get this potential asbestos-tile-shower sealed up ASAP? Thank you very much for whoever knows what to do.

P.S. Did I mention I am very worried???

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Old 01-13-2009, 07:35 AM   #2
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Asbestos is a tricky deal. There's the obvious info out there about how dangerous it is but there are others that say it's not as big of a deal as it's made out to be.
To ease your own mind, they have test kits at hardware stores you can purchase. Send the sample in and get the results. Let's hope you don't have asbestos. In the mean time, keep the room sealed off and stay out.

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Old 01-14-2009, 06:08 AM   #3
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


You might not have asbestos, but the powdered grout should not be breathed in.
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:54 AM   #4
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


I've never heard of asbestos in ceramic tiles or in grout. The backer behind the tiles, yes. Even in plaster and drywall on occaission, but I've not heard of it in the actual tiles, grout or thinset used to install them. Have them tested if you are suspicious. Remember that not all white dust is asbestos (or anthrax) .

If you have them tested and they come back positive, please repost so we can learn something.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:54 AM   #5
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Yes asbestos was used in the manufacturing process of ceramic tiles until (I believe) 1970 and was most likely installed beyond that as the asbestos tile stock was depleted.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:25 PM   #6
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


I would love to see some documentation on that. I've never seen anything concerning clay based tiles containing asbestos. Practically any other type of floor, ceiling or wall finish, but never ceramic. I'd be interested to know why they quit using it in 1970. No one else did. It was still in vinyl floor tiles and ceiling tiles into the 1980s. If you can provide a source for the info, I'd be interested. I'm always up for learning something new.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:33 PM   #7
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


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Originally Posted by Maintenance 6 View Post
I would love to see some documentation on that. I've never seen anything concerning clay based tiles containing asbestos. Practically any other type of floor, ceiling or wall finish, but never ceramic. I'd be interested to know why they quit using it in 1970. No one else did. It was still in vinyl floor tiles and ceiling tiles into the 1980s. If you can provide a source for the info, I'd be interested. I'm always up for learning something new.

http://www.mesothelioma.com/products_ceramic_tiles.htm

Not sure where I saw the 1970 comment before but this article states more or less the same thing, asbestos stopped in ceramic tile production in the 70's
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:43 AM   #8
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Thanks for the info. After doing abatement for a dozen years or so, I've never seen a grout or ceramic tile sample come back positive. I have to wonder where the info originated. For a number of reasons I am somewhat skeptical about the info I see in mesothelioma sites and ads, but that's a discussion for another place.
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:10 PM   #9
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Quote:
It was still in vinyl floor tiles and ceiling tiles into the 1980s
aignt that the truth!

i just assume paint has lead and tiles have asbestos and proceed from there. some places allow non-pro/certified people to remove asbestos and some places require certified pros.

i have some tips posted here on how i dealt with a similar issue.

if you're worried about already breathing in the dust particles then stop worrying about it - its already happened. just be more careful next time (lots of people fall into this catagory). if you still concerned then go consult a medical doctor.

best of luck,
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


In the early 1980's Asbestos was banned in most uses. However, we still find it being used and in place today.
If a product was manufactured before the ban and it is constructed from anything other than Glass, Wood or Metal it is a "Suspect Material" and should be tested by a professional prior to disturbing. Tile grouts, floor tiles, floor tile mastics, spray on ceilings, wall and ceiling plaster, drywall, joint compound mud, joint compound tape, are just some materials that are suspect.
Lead was banned from "Residential" uses in the late 1970's. However, it is still used in "Commercial and Industrial" applications. Some examples of applications used in residential homes prior to the ban are, paints (both interior and exterior) glazed ceramic tiles, and plumbing solder, to name just a few. Contact you landlord or the DTSC for a complete list of lead applications.

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Old 06-20-2009, 08:36 AM   #11
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Yes, if you have asbestos in the tiles you have already breathed it in. It is now in your home and is in your hvac systems (if applicable) The damage is done and if you are concerned about asbetos you should have the tiles tested, however as far as exposure you are too late on that one.

If you have asbestos I would have someone test it if you are really concerned, but just like lead, ( I am a certified lead contractor btw) depending on the type of asbestos fibers present the asbestos will leave your body after some time and the main point is to get the asbestos dust cleaned up (if in fact you have asbestos in the dust).

Here is some information related to asbestos for you to read... http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs61.html

In conclusion don't panic, clean the area or hire a cleaner to clean the area and I think I might consider replacing the tiles all together if in fact you test the tiles and they prove to be asbestos based or you could get a clear sealer that is designed to seal in asbestos. This gets especially difficult to determine what to do as if you have asbestos then you want the cleaner to be certified so I can not make that call for you as to what can be done and what should be done because of the expense associated with an asbestos contractor to clean this area (but you could contact one in your area and may have to pay them to come out and give you some advice. If there are small children in the house as well as asbestos this becomes imparitive because small children process contaminates slower and is why lead exposure to children is so much different than adults.

Also, the handyman was probably unaware of what he was doing and if he used a dremmel (instead of hand scratching the grout lines) he should have isolated the area from all of the dust he was going to throw around. If there was damage to the tiles then you should discuss that with him as well as your other concerns.

I sense your worry and think that the ultimate decision is up to you. I would talk with him and tell him of your concerns and see what he has to offer. These are tough situations to evaluate unless a person is there and shows how important communication is before during and after trouble rears its ugly head.

Good luck to you and be safe and I hope some of what I said helps
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:24 AM   #12
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


When you inhale asbestos fibers, they stay!!!! Asbestos fibers do not leave your system like lead. 30 - 50 years down the line you will find out if you inhaled any fibers. The latency period on Asbestos is 30 - 50 years, depending on if you smoke. You will notice the effects of lead absorption immediately. As far as cleaning up the dust. Leave that to a professional. Special HEPA vacuums and respiratory protection must be used. If the grout and/or tiles test positive for asbestos, have a chest x-ray done and make certain it is read by a "B" reader. Someone that reads Asbestos chest x-rays. The most important thing is "GET IT TESTED". Then the burden falls on the contractor to rectify the damages.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:00 AM   #13
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


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When you inhale asbestos fibers, they stay!!!! Asbestos fibers do not leave your system like lead. 30 - 50 years down the line you will find out if you inhaled any fibers. The latency period on Asbestos is 30 - 50 years, depending on if you smoke. You will notice the effects of lead absorption immediately. As far as cleaning up the dust. Leave that to a professional. Special HEPA vacuums and respiratory protection must be used. If the grout and/or tiles test positive for asbestos, have a chest x-ray done and make certain it is read by a "B" reader. Someone that reads Asbestos chest x-rays. The most important thing is "GET IT TESTED". Then the burden falls on the contractor to rectify the damages.
Mr. B I encourage you to read my posting and notice that I stated that it depended upon what kind of fibers are present if any. I am not into inciting panic in people and encourage you to read the information in the link above and here is an excerpt from that report...
1.4 How can asbestos enter and leave my body?


If you breathe asbestos fibers into your lungs, some of the fibers will be deposited in the air passages and on the cells that make up your lungs. Most fibers are removed from your lungs by being carried away or coughed up in a layer of mucus to the throat, where they are swallowed into the stomach. This usually takes place within a few hours. Fibers that are deposited in the deepest parts of the lung are removed more slowly. In fact, some fibers may move through your lungs and can remain in place for many years and may never be removed from your body. Amphibole asbestos fibers are retained in the lung longer than chrysotile asbestos fibers.
If you swallow asbestos fibers (either those present in water or those that are moved to your throat from your lungs), nearly all of the fibers pass along your intestines within a few days and are excreted in the feces. A small number of fibers may penetrate into cells that line your stomach or intestines, and a few penetrate all the way through and get into your blood. Some of these become trapped in other tissues, and some are removed in your urine.
If you get asbestos fibers on your skin, very few of these fibers, if any, pass through the skin into your body. Please see the toxicological profile for more information on how asbestos enters and leaves your body.

I do not intend to minimize the exposure or the effects that the poster has or will experience so please excuse me if I conveyed that message. Asbestos is serious and some fibers do stay in the body for long periods of time up to and including forever but I don't want to say that is the only effect as some do leave the body and do not intend to make the poster feel like they have asbestos in their body and now it is time to sue the handyman who was merely trying his best, he should have been more precautious but his actions were not intentional. I also do not want the poster to think that they now have this big scary problem that they are going to die from, we are all going to die from something.

The thing to remember about these exposures are levels of exposure. As with lead and Asbestos no amount is good but the levels in ones body vary from person to person and each persons body processes the materials different. If the poster has some exposure to asbestos they will probably process the contaminates out in due time but yes, you are correct the contaminates MAY stay forever again depending on the material. Also a person must keep in mind that the effects and amounts are going to be different for a person working in the field than for a homeowner.

I must now correct you on lead exposure and its effects. You do not notice the effects of lead immediately it also has an incubation time depending on the amount ingested. It also varies from adults to children and the number of micro grams of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL). The lead tends to move into the brain of children quicker than in adults but the absorption does not occur immediately it happens due to extended periods of exposure. Once again I do not subscribe to panic but rather to information and if an exposure has occurred it needs to be addressed immediately and completely. If there is asbestos in the dust it should be taken care of by a licensed and certified individual and not taken with anything other than the utmost urgency however the poster probably is not going to die tomorrow because of the exposure.

SO please do not make this out to be a pandemic that is going to kill the homeowner and all of the homes occupants however it does need to be addressed and the poor handyman needs to take care of it, you are right, but I am thinking that they probably won't. This is going to get ugly if in fact there is asbestos present in the dust however Mister B have you ever scraped paint prior to testing it? Have you ever cut a paint laden board prior to testing it? Ever vacuumed up dust and paint chips in a window sill without prior testing it? When you did this did you contain the area and isolate? Did you use the approved HEPA filter in your vac to prevent contaminating the area with lead dust? Did you then call an approved testing laboratory or a consultant to come do a wipe test of the affected area prior to taking down the barrier? Do you know how much lead dust is acceptable during a wipe test? The point I am trying to make is we are all guilty of doing these jobs without concern or consideration of what might be present. Do you present your clients with the required lead brochure if in fact there is a possibility that lead exists in the project you are working on and have you had you required by law blood test and if you have employees have you had them tested by law to measure the levels of lead currently in their blood? Yes, we should all test, we should all be aware of what is in the work environment but do we? All the time, every time?

So let's not beat up the handyman and say what he should have done because it could have been us in there. I think he went overboard on the dremmel and I would have used the least invasive process and use a hand diamond tipped grout removal tool but then that is just me and I was not running the job.

So before you judge him please reflect on this situation with greater objectivity. Contact the handyman tell him of your concern tell him you would like to have the material tested and then tell him that you will expect him to take care of any liabilities associated with this process.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Dear Paragon,
I am a licensed CSST and Lead Project monitor in the state of California. Yes I test everything in my home before I disturb it, whether it be a suspected lead surface, or a suspected Asbestos material. I California we are very strict on how lead and Asbestos is handled, removed and disposed. I know other states are less stringent in their rules and regulations. This may be why the way we have been schooled differs so much. I believe to error on the side of caution. I am curious where you obtained your information. I can not see a link.


http://www.dir.ca.gov/Title8/1529i.html

Check this out too.

http://www.dir.ca.gov/Title8/1529.html

here is a lot of reading.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:50 AM   #15
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Asbestos in shower tiles???


Mister B,

I did not intend to turn this into a squable but I didn't intend to make the homeowner panic either. I looked at the date on their posting and it was back in January LOL so they have probably taken care of this issue and we are discussing it amongst ourselves .

I agree tha CA has some of the most stringent codes around so I will not take that from you. I just don't see that this is the time to make the homeowner panic that they have 2 weeks to live. Yes fibers do stay in the body but some migrate out so that is imprtant to remember it is the type as not all asbestos is the same correct?

The information that I accessed is at this link and is contained in my posting as follows

If you have asbestos I would have someone test it if you are really concerned, but just like lead, ( I am a certified lead contractor btw) depending on the type of asbestos fibers present the asbestos will leave your body after some time and the main point is to get the asbestos dust cleaned up (if in fact you have asbestos in the dust).

Here is some information related to asbestos for you to read...
http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/phs61.html

In conclusion don't panic, clean the area or hire a cleaner to clean the area and I think I might consider replacing the tiles all together if in fact you test the tiles and they prove to be asbestos based or you could get a clear sealer that is designed to seal in asbestos. This gets especially difficult to determine what to do as if you have asbestos then you want the cleaner to be certified so I can not make that call for you as to what can be done and what should be done because of the expense associated with an asbestos contractor to clean this area (but you could contact one in your area and may have to pay them to come out and give you some advice. If there are small children in the house as well as asbestos this becomes imparitive because small children process contaminates slower and is why lead exposure to children is so much different than adults.

This is a case where they should err on the side of caution however panic I just don't think is their next logical step.

I thank you for your insight and I beleive as professionals we can learn and improve by consulting with other professionals in our professions and those in other professions as well.

Good luck and be safe!

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